Thursday, December 31, 2009

Obligatory 'What I got for Christmas' post

Hope you had a very merry Christmas and are settling in somewhere warm to celebrate New Year's tonight. No, we are not venturing out to Times Square to watch the ball drop. I'm not sure how much you'd have to pay me to be there, but it'd be a lot. We've settled in to a nice, quiet New Year's Eve tradition of eating a sampling of expensive cheeses on top of cracked pepper Triscuits and having some sparkling cider to wash it down while we watch the festivities on television. Sounds better to me than standing for hours in the cold, possibly with rain/ice/snow, with thousands of other people shoulder to shoulder waiting for the ball to drop. I'll watch it here at home where it's cozy, thankyouverymuch.

But back to Christmas... Scott and I exchanged gifts on the 23rd before we headed out of town. We weren't sure we'd be able to have Christmas until we got back into town because I had ordered some things on Amazon that were taking forever to arrive, but call it a little Christmas miracle if you will, they arrived late on the 23rd and we were able to open presents before heading out. But enough talking, on to the gifts...

Scott went first...

A mini measure cup, like a shot glass for measuring teaspoons and tablespoons (we had one before but it met its fate on the tile floor a few months ago).

Me next.

A three-pack of hot chocolate flavors from Starbucks. Yum.

Fingerless gloves for Scott, so he can keep his hands warm and use his Droid phone at the same time.

He gave me the Julie and Julia book, which I'm looking forward to reading.

I gave him a more-than-usual-expense bar of soap he'd liked

Smells so good...

He went twice in a row, since we came out uneven on gift numbers

A book he'd wanted to encourage his writing

I don't know what it is, but I like it already!

It was wrapped in a really nice box

It's a gift certificate to Bare Escentuals, a cosmetics store that sells all-natural products

Scott got God of War II, since he enjoyed playing the first one so much.

Me wondering where the Boscovs box came from. But it was something we'd had from Christmases past, and it held a Food Network magazine ...

Which held a receipt for a year subscription!

I gave Scott a David Bazan CD...

and a ticket to go see him play in Brooklyn in March.

That wrapped up our Christmas here, but I have to give props to my parents, who are getting us a Wii! A very Me-Wii Christmas indeed!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

No business like snow business

I should be getting ready for bed, since I have an in-early/stay-late day at work tomorrow, but you might have heard that we got a little bit of snow here, and I know you're just dying for photos. So I'll indulge you.

I was out shopping when the snow started in early afternoon. I didn't get any photos of it then because, well, it's hard to take photos of moving snow. But later in the evening, it was snowing super hard. Like, can't see the buildings out the windows hard.

We got around a foot of snow. Easily the deepest snow I've been in, being a Southerner and all. Our friends to the south (literal or figurative) got nearly two feet in Philadelphia and in DC, they got more than two feet. Deep stuff.

Thankfully, the walk to work was pretty cleared out for my by the time I went in in the afternoon. But here's a few photos of the aftermath in the city.

This tree is in the plaza I walk through

You might recognize that sculpture from my walk to work post. (Sorry, I'm not going back for a link right now.) And that slushy dark mess between the snow piles is Broadway.

Side street

Trees buried in snow, same twinkly ones from the last post

Subway station in front of the office building

So, as the best Facebook status post of the snow day said, snOMG!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

It's Christmastime in the city

New York kinda sucks in the fall. There aren't too many trees here, so it's easy to completely miss the beauty of the changing colors. But for all it lacks in the fall, New York makes up for it at Christmas.

Firstly, unlike many other places that throw a string of lights on a tree and call it decorated, in New York, every light is carefully placed and wrapped around selected trunks and branches. The effect is a really beautiful, twinkly display.

Down on Wall Street, they're in the red (ba dum ching!)

And the stores are all decked out

Especially the Herald Square Macy's and its famed windows

But it's not just the big guys, the little guys like street vendors get in the spirit too

But there is one major epicenter in New York at Christmas. This year-round sculpture hints you're getting close...

And the Rockettes are performing their annual Christmas Spectacular show just down the street...

But what you're really here to see ...

Is the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, the center of all things Christmas in New York.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Music and me

There are two times a year I really miss playing my instrument(s). This is one of them.

For those of you who don't know, I was a huge band nerd. (Oh come on, you're not really that surprised are you?) I played flute from the time I was in fourth grade until, well, I graduated college. I guess you could say I'm still a flute player, but the fact is I haven't picked up my flute or piccolo for any extended period of time since 2004. Once I got into high school, I still enjoyed flute, but I really excelled at piccolo, apparently having a knack for playing in tune (very, very important for a piccolo) and not blowing people's ears out. In fact, my band teacher once told me I was the only piccolo player he'd ever had to tell to play louder. And this man had been directing bands for years and years, so that's really saying something. But at any rate, I LOVED the piccolo and preferred it to flute. (Especially in marching band, where I'd rather hold a piccolo than any other instrument. Whether that's because it was small and light or I could command a football field with my presence, I'll let you decide.)

I often wish I would get back to playing, but the truth is, living in apartments and having a wacky work schedule just hasn't really lent itself to it. But Christmas is one of those times when I really wish I still played. And there's one song that always does it. Any guesses?

I wanted to find the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra in a nod to the late Erich Kunzel, but Boston Pops will have to do.

There isn't a particular part I love in this song, aside from the jazz section, but the whole thing is fun to play, and was a tradition at Christmas concerts in high school. I've loved it ever since.

So I guess you want to know the other time of the year when I miss playing, don't you? Geez, so demanding, aren't you? Well, here you go. Probably the best. piccolo. part. EVER.

(You can listen to the whole thing, but the part in question is just after the 2-minute mark, and again at 2:56, which, in my opinion, is even better than the first time around.)

There, now don't you feel like putting some red white and blue on your Christmas tree?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Monday morning

Imagine: You wake up and head for the computer, just like every morning. You've got a routine to keep, after all. But today, there is no Internet. No email. No Facebook. What do you do?

Hit the shower, get dressed, eat lunch, and get to work on time for once, that's what.

Glad to report it's back up and running. Obviously.